The word ‘cure’ can lead you to believe that just one product or kennel cough medicine can fix everything. While that would make life a whole lot easier, it’s not usually the case.
With many diseases, viruses, and everyday illnesses, several forms of treatments are used to cure the ailment.
Take seasonal allergies, for example. For most people, popping one allergy pill per day doesn’t cut through all of the symptoms. You then add eye drops, nasal spray, and maybe even an inhaler for those days when the pollen hangs in the air.
Is There A Cure For Kennel Cough?
To say there is one cure for kennel cough would be false. Since there are so many different possible culprits of kennel cough, we cannot pick one product or medication and say, “here’s your cure.” Like many things in life, it’s just a bit more complicated than that.
Kennel cough refers to a broad array of upper respiratory infections in dogs. These infections may also be called canine infectious tracheobronchitis describing conditions in and around the trachea. Most often, upper respiratory infections are caused by:
- Bordetella bacteria
- Canine influenza
Because there are so many possible reasons for kennel cough symptoms, there are several potential ‘cures’ that you can try to help your pup get better.
For example, antibiotics are often prescribed for kennel cough, and for a good reason. Bordetella is the number one cause of kennel cough. Antibiotics kill bacteria and prevent them from reproducing. Logically, that is the cure for Bordetella, but what if that isn’t all that’s going on?
Often, the bordetella bacteria is accompanied by a virus. Viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. While the bacteria may be getting kicked to the curb by the antibiotics, the virus is still there.
It is a combination of medicinal therapies and comforting remedies that make the symptoms bearable while the virus runs its course.
Will Kennel Cough Cure Itself?
Kennel cough may clear up without medical intervention, but this in no way means the dog can just go about its business. You, as the dog’s owner, have a responsibility to care for the animal and offer support. Remedies will be beneficial to the dog for relief of even the basic symptoms.
It wouldn’t be much fun to suffer from a sinus infection or the flu and then refuse yourself any congestion medicine, cough drops, or tea. Your dog requires the same, at minimum. Of course, a consultation with your vet is still highly recommended.
Keep in mind; there is a much better chance of kennel cough clearing up on its own if the dog has had its annual bordetella vaccine along with the core vaccines.
How To Cure Kennel Cough Fast
While giving your dog lots of loving care and affection as well as all of the helpful remedies, the cough will still run its course, lasting about ten days. If symptoms are not present after two weeks, then they are assumed to no longer be contagious.
How To Cure Kennel Cough In Puppies
The cure for kennel cough in puppies is mostly the same for adult dogs except for a few significant differences.
- Puppies have underdeveloped immune systems.
- Some adult kennel cough cures can have adverse effects on puppies.
- The size and weight of a puppy will alter its dosage.
Remember: Puppies Have Underdeveloped Immune Systems
Puppies are still growing and haven’t fully developed their skeleton, let alone their immune system. They are more vulnerable to everything! Viruses, bacteria, fungi, allergies, predators. Well, hopefully, they don’t have to worry about the last one, but you get the idea. Puppies are delicate.
This is a very crucial time in their life and yours. This new adorable puppy will be getting all of its first vaccines at this time, and it is vital to stay on schedule. This can also be a stressful time for a new pup. New house, new friends, new veterinarian; it’s a lot.
Some Adult Kennel Cough Cures Can Have Adverse Effects In Puppies
Many kennel cough cures are okay for puppies in moderation while also considering their size and weight. However, some medications are not recommended for dogs under a certain age.
For example, the antibiotic enrofloxacin is sometimes used to combat the kennel cough bacteria Bordetella. Enrofloxacin can be harmful to puppies causing abnormalities in the joints of growing dogs.
Educating yourself on any medications that your new fur baby is taking can provide some extra reassurance along with the help of your veterinarian.
The Size And Weight Of A Puppy Will Alter Their Dosage
This may seem like an obvious one to all of you smarties out there, but it’s worth noting that medication dosages need to be altered for tiny puppies in most cases.
This is especially important if you are trying any DIY remedies or over-the-counter medications.
Remember that your puppy is about 10% – 25% of an adult dog’s size. Therefore they will only require a tenth or a quarter of the dosage.
How To Cure Kennel Cough In Dogs
What we know about kennel cough is that it can cure itself with some tender loving care and a few remedies and that it’s going to stick around for at least ten days whether you like it or not.
So, how do we cure kennel cough in dogs and puppies?
The answer is not one thing alone, but several that work best for you and your pup. Let’s get down to it!
What Cures Kennel Cough?
- Medicinal intervention
- Natural & holistic remedies
- At-home relief and solutions
Medicinal Intervention to Cure Kennel Cough
- Cough suppressants
Several antibiotics exist to help cure kennel cough and kill the Bordetella bacteria. Kennel cough antibiotics are not always necessary, but in the case that Bordetella is the culprit of your dog’s symptoms, your veterinarian will recommend an antibiotic.
As you may already know, the bacteria Bordetella is very often involved in kennel cough manifestation. Though Bordetella isn’t always the sole cause of kennel cough, the antibiotics will still be advantageous in killing the bacteria and halting the cells’ further reproduction. The virus will need to clear in its own time.
Cough suppressants can be prescribed by your vet or acquired over the counter.
Dextromethorphan is a common antitussive used as a kennel cough cure. You can find this popular ingredient in products like Robitussin DM and Delsym.
Dextromethorphan is antitussive. Antitussives are typically addictive opioids like morphine and codeine. Dextromethorphan is unique because it is non-addictive with less severe side effects than its counterparts.
Antitussives relieve coughing by way of the brain. They affect the medulla oblongata in such a way that causes the brain to shut off the cough receptors. Wild, huh?
Dextromethorphan isn’t something you want to get used to giving your dog all the time. It can still have some woozy side effects like:
- Mild sedation
These are common side effects of any cure and pale in comparison to some of the side effects from the more potent antitussives.
Expectorants are a form of mucoactive agent and a trusted kennel cough cure. A mucoactive agent is a class of chemicals that aids in clearing mucus by increasing the water content, therefore loosening gooey gunk and making it easier to cough up and expel.
Many veterinarians use guaifenesin as:
- a relaxant
- a mild anesthetic for minor procedures
- an expectorant that aids in clearing congestion.
Robitussin DM To Cure Kennel Cough
Veterinarians have been using Robitussin DM to quiet coughing dogs for years, but caretakers must pay close attention to dosage instructions.
While Robitussin’s active ingredients will quiet a dog’s cough, it will not eradicate the bordetella bacteria. That’s the antibiotics’ job.
Be sure to talk to your vet about mixing kennel cough cures. Don’t give your dog more than one medicinal kennel cough cure at a time without speaking to your veterinarian before administering.
|Antitussive or expectorant||Dosage||Side effects|
|Dextromethorphan||½ teaspoon per 10 pounds|
5 – 7.5 milligrams
*Cats 2-4 milligrams
|Guaifenesin (expectorant)||½ teaspoon per 10 pounds|
30 – 50 milligrams
How to Cure Kennel Cough at Home
We love some good old fashion do-it-yourself kennel cough cures around here. Here are our favorites.
- Steam therapy
Steam therapy is one of our favorite kennel cough cures. A DIY sauna is a great way to naturally and effectively ease your furry friend’s congestion. Steam therapy helps moisten the mucus membranes, kind of like a natural expectorant. The mucus is then more manageable for the dog to expel.
You can easily have a steam session in your bathroom by running the hot shower with the door closed until the air is thick with warm steamy vapor.
Make a cozy space for your dog (and yourself) in the bathroom. Allow them to breathe in the steam for 20 to 30 minutes or as long as they are enjoying themselves.
You may already have this handy kennel cough cure readily available for use at your residence. If you do, easy peasy. If not, you can consider picking one up from your local big box store.
Steam therapy or a vaporizer may suffice, but humidifiers are very helpful in providing a constant flow of moisture to your dog’s airways.
As long as your dog isn’t nervous around the humidifier, go ahead and set up the unit close to your dog’s bed. If you have the dog isolated because you have other susceptible animals in the house, the humidifier will do its job well in a closed room.
Natural Remedies to Cure Kennel Cough
Natural remedies are great because they are less processed and still very effective. Using only the ingredients mother nature intended; conveniently located at your local health food or grocery store.
- Honey & Lemon KC tea
- Coconut oil
- Oregano oil
Honey & Lemon KC tea
The honey & lemon combo packs a powerful punch against bacterial infections and is a great natural cure for kennel cough.
Honey is by far, one of the most well-known and most beneficial products to ever be made available to humans. So don’t forget to thank the bees by buying from sustainable bee farms.
The honey bees aren’t the only ones that benefit from homegrown, sustainable bee farms. Organically grown, high-quality honey is high in antioxidants and offers more potent antibacterial properties than your run-of-the-mill supermarket honey.
Honey has been proven to be a natural antibiotic, killing some forms of even antibiotic-resistant bacteria! This kennel cough cure is good for a lot of things. Your leftover organically farmed honey will not go to waste.
Remember that honey, though it has some significant benefits, is also high in sugar. We advise not to exceed one to two tablespoons daily.
Coconut oil has built-in antimicrobial properties that make it a soothing kennel cough cure for dogs. A dollop of coconut oil can lubricate the throat to ease coughing and soreness.
If you choose to try this method, it is recommended to use extra virgin coconut oil. Extra virgin is a less processed version, and we know, less processed equals better for our animals and us.
Recovering from kennel cough is not a time to start your dog on a new diet but remember that coconut oil is high in fat. Be aware and stick to the recommended dose for your dog’s size.
Oregano oil is another natural yet powerful kennel cough cure for dogs. It’s also a helpful treatment for other things like:
- Insect repellent
- Relieving menstrual cramps
- Obliterating infections in animals.
Oregano oil has an incredible list of benefits, including antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties to aid in your dog’s recovery.
Oregano oil, like honey, is another “natural antibiotic.” In a study, oregano oil successfully reduced bacteria in an open wound with no apparent side effects. Even science says that oregano oil can potentially be an alternative to traditional antibiotics!
We have created a table below of these potent but straightforward kennel cough cures for dogs.
|Natural Remedy||How much?||How Often?|
|Honey & lemon||Two teaspoons honey one teaspoon lemon with ½ cup of water||Let your dog drink mix twice a day|
|Coconut oil||One teaspoon per every 10 pounds||1 -2 times daily to soothe and quiet cough|
|Oregano oil||Mix 2-4 drops in your dog’s food||Once a day|
Recovering From Kennel Cough: 7 Helpful Hints
- Lose the collar: If you don’t already have a harness, buy one. Walking your dog with a collar can irritate the trachea further.
- Isolate: Isolate your dog from other animals in the house. That’s right. Even the cat can get kennel cough.
- Feed them nutrient-rich foods: Pay attention to your dog’s eating and whether they’ve lost their appetite.
- Keep them hydrated: Hydration goes hand in hand with healing. Always keep fresh, clean water available.
- Keep water and food bowls separate and sanitized: Oher animals should not have access to an infected dog’s bowls and vice versa.
- Keep your pet warm: Just like us, they can “catch a chill” from being in the cold too long or too often.
- Keep exercise to a minimum and avoid overexertion: Now is not the time for a new workout routine or an afternoon hike with dad.
So you see, there is no one cure for kennel cough, and maybe that is ideal. We have not just one, but many ways to support our dogs through the symptoms and recovery of kennel cough.
As puppy parents, we scour the internet and the shelves of pet stores for only the best products for our pets. Here, we hope to simplify your search by consolidating and organizing everything there is to know about the infamous kennel cough.
We are here to help guide and support you on this venture. Here’s to our happy, healthy pets.